My friend Marcos and I went in search of costumes for Halloween late last night. I had heard of a place in Chicago's Portage Park (see top photo of a neighborhood landmark, the Portage Theater) that is open, non-stop, for the week before this holiday. We went and were not disappointed. All manner of get-ups were available, from "sexy" (sexy nurse, sexy secretary, fireman, etc.), to wigs, to prosthetics and animals.
The best part of the excursion, of course, was the people (see photo, second from the top, of shoppers at Fantasy Costumes). Given the neighborhood and the draw of a wide selection of costumes, we found a mix of Latinos, gays (and, of course, gay Latinos), and anyone else one could imagine. The environment was friendly and frenetic. It was a precursor to the best of Halloween.
Halloween can be a liberating time for us. It is a current version of the Roman Saturnalia, when the normal order of things was upended. At its best, we can indulge in some sort of fantasy that reveals a part of us. This year, I will be some sort of hybrid of Fantasy Costumes' departments (sexy cat?).
Leaving with various accessories, we had an insatiable hunger. Marcos and I came upon a taqueria, one that promised, with its colorful outside and lighting inside, at least a good environment for food. Like the costume shop, it was filled with visual delights: A small pepper-bull, a green taco truck (that apparently does not leave the lot), and a "rajas con queso" taco (cheese and strips of grilled pepper) with the rare, but tasty, onion and cilantro topping (see bottom three photos).
And there you have what you need for a good evening -- fantasy, beauty, conviviality.